Oct 9 2013
Sep 27 2013
See on Scoop.it – lean manufacturing
“I am revisiting a great book – “My Forty Years With Ford” – written by Charles Sorensen. Sorensen was as close to being in charge of production at Ford during the Model T, genesis of the assembly line, $5 day era. The following is an excerpt […]
‘…a part such as a piston entered production bearing a ticket which covered every operation. If ten operations were involved, an entry was made on the ticket after each stage before proceeding to the next one. If one piston was lost in the move, all progress stopped until the missing piece could be found and accounted for. The time consumed in each operation was computed in lots of 100 or more, and results were tabulated on a card file which ultimately found its way back to the foreman so that he might check timing at each stage. Not only did the process mean delay from one operation to another, but when a motor assembler couldn’t get pistons, all car production was held up.’ “
It’s a great story. What Hawkins was implementing is now known as a traveller and, while not usually found in auto parts manufacturing, it lives on in other activities, where it is needed. I saw it in operation last week in small and mid-size plants in Germany that produce paints in thousands of shades in batches from 100Kg to 2,000Kg. Each batch has a traveller attached to it as a way to keep track of where it is in its process and which materials or pigments are needed for it.
In semiconductor manufacturing, you also have travellers, albeit electronic, to keep track of where a batch of wafers is in its 500+ operations process that involves multiple visits to the same equipment, and where the state of a wafer is not visually obvious.
The principle is not intrinsically wrong. The mistake Sorensen reports was applying it in the wrong place.
See on www.idatix.com
Sep 20 2013
From the automotive philosophers of Toyota to the makers of Kleenex tissues, Lean manufacturing principles have been exemplified by some of the world’s top companies. Here is a list of some of the best practitioners in the …
Top ten by what criteria? What is the measure of leanness on which these companies outperform everybody else? The article doesn’t say. Most “top ten” lists don’t either, but you want to see who is on them anyway. If you know the inner workings of some of these companies, you may be surprised to find them there. You may also wonder what the actions described in the paragraph about Nike have to do with Lean.
See on www.manufacturingdigital.com
May 24 2013
“Ford Australia’s move to close its two Australian plants from 2016 and transition to import-only brands only reinforces the sense of a looming death knell. But that isn’t the case with every developed-world auto sector struggling to compete with high domestic production costs and cheaper, mostly-Asian-built imports. Canada’s auto sector has also struggled with factors that would sound familiar to an Australian onlooker, such as its own high dollar, volatile domestic demand, offshore competition and wavering government subsidies.
But as much as those conditions in Canada instigated uncertainty, cuts and job losses, that struggle, which gained pace as the global financial crisis took hold, has also produced a level of productivity-focused innovation worth noting for any manufacturer or policymaker wondering if Australia’s auto sector has crossed its rubicon.”
Ford is closing its plants in Australia, which threatens the entire local automotive industry. The author looks to Canada for a model Australia could follow for this industry to survive and thrive. The article is mostly about Canada, and specificially about the Magna Dortec door latch plant Northeast of Toronto.
See on www.businessspectator.com.au
Mar 1 2013
Ford and Toyota Celebrate Historic Milestones Assembly Magazine (blog) However, the just-in-time concept was not fully realized at Toyota until 1954, when the supermarket supply method—the idea of having subsequent processes take what they need…
See on www.assemblymag.com
Nov 22 2012
Lean is from Japan, and even more specifically from one Japanese company. Outside of Japan, however, the foreign origin of the concepts impedes their acceptance. In every country where I’ve been active, I have found the ability to link Lean to local founders a critical advantage. The people whose support you need would like to think that Lean was essentially “invented here,” and that foreigners at best added minor details. Identifying local ancestors in a country’s intellectual tradition takes some research, and then you may need to err on the side of giving more credit than is due.
In the US, using the word “Lean” rather than TPS is already a means of making it less foreign, and it is not difficult to paint Lean as a continuation of US developments from the 19th and 20th century, ranging from interchangeable parts technology to TWI. Ford’s system is a direct ancestor to Lean, as acknowledged by Toyota. On this basis, the American literature on Lean has gradually been drifting towards attributing Lean to Henry Ford. Fact checkers disagree, but it makes many Americans feel better.
Elsewhere, it is not as obvious to find a filiation. Following are a few examples of what I found:
- Russia has Alexei Gastev, who started an industrial engineering institute in Moscow in 1920, was shot by Stalin in 1939 and largely forgotten afterwards, but our OrgProm colleagues have now named a prize after him, that is given to Russian companies for excellence in manufacturing. It was awarded for the first time in 2011. Here are, from 1924, Gastev’s 9 steps to automate a riveting operation:
- Poland has Karol Adamiecki, whose “harmonogram” is the same as a Gantt chart, and was invented independently and a few years earlier. If you google “harmonogram,” you get pictures of Gantt charts. I am sure there must be some differences between the two, however minor, but I can’t tell what they are.
- For Germany, through the discussion on takt in the TPS Only group on LinkedIn, I have recently discovered Hugo Junkers as a pioneer of takt-driven production.
- Italians can connect Lean to the shipyard in which Venetians assembled galleys in the Renaissance. Jim Womack identified it as a early flow line. As he wrote in Walking Through Lean History:
“… Dan Jones visited the Arsenal in Venice, established in 1104 to build war ships for the Venetian Navy. Over time the Venetians adopted a standardized design for the hundreds of galleys built each year to campaign in the Mediterranean and also pioneered the use of interchangeable parts. This made it possible to assemble galleys along a narrow channel running through the Arsenal. The hull was completed first and then flowed past the assembly point for each item needed to complete the ship. By 1574 the Arsenal’s practices were so advanced that King Henry III of France was invited to watch the construction of a complete galley in continuous flow, going from start to finish in less than an hour.”
Britain, as the Olympic opening ceremonies reminded us, was home to the industrial revolution. In terms of worldwide share of market for manufactured goods, however, Britain peaked about 1870, and the thinkers that come to mind about British manufacturing are economists like Adam Smith or David Ricardo, whose theories were based on observations of early manufacturing practices, but whose contributions were not on the specifics of plant design or operations. They are too remote to be linked in any way to Lean.
For France, I have asked everybody I know there for nominations but have yet to receive any. The French have invented many products and processes, but I have not been able to identify French pioneers in production systems who could provide a link to Lean. And there are many other countries where the search may be fruitless.
Even though people in China and India have been making things for thousands of years,I don’t know any names of local forerunners of Lean in these countries. China has only emerged as a world-class manufacturing power in the last few decades and I have, unfortunately, never been to India. There are many other countries on which I don’t have this kind of information, and nominations are welcome.